Your website is one of the most crucial components in any digital marketing strategy. If you don’t have a functional, attractive website to serve your customers and alternative digital platforms, what’s the point? Web design impacts your customer experience in multiple ways. Functionality, aesthetics and readability are essential elements to your online business longevity. Good web design can mean the difference between a bounce and a sale.
Your website’s appearance plays a huge role in creating a lasting first impression on your digital audience. While web design is influenced by fickle trends, it is simple to identify the enduring trends that have emerged over the last decade.
Modern websites tend to feature:
- Responsive design;
- Bold, contrasting serif fonts;
- Parallax scrolling;
- Embedded multimedia capability; and
- Heavy imagery, including eye-catching hero images.
Responsive design ensures your website looks and feels the same regardless of whether you’re using a desktop or a mobile, meaning consistency across devices.
Bold, contrasting fonts are naturally complementary when paired correctly. Often, there are natural pairs between serif and san serif fonts that draw the eye and engage the reader. The most common trend is using a serif font in headings, but sans-serif typefaces in body texts (as they are easy to read on screens). This smooths your customer experience, allowing your customer to quickly understand your offering.
Parallax scrolling overlays two visual elements on a page, moving them at different speeds as you scroll. This is often seen as a background image, revealing more or less of the image as you scroll, but has many creative applications to keep your readers engaged.
Embedded multimedia includes anything from images, videos, infographics, interactives and visual elements to break up text and engage your visitors. Having relevant, interesting and responsive multimedia throughout your website can increase the time visitors spend on your site. While this does not necessarily mean much alone, the more time spent on a website means a higher likelihood of a purchase.
Imagery, and eye-catching hero images create the atmosphere of your website. Hero images, sometimes referred to as header images, are full-width graphics at the top of articles that represent the content below. They are named hero images as they champion the article with which they are associated. They serve the article when shared to social media, introducing your site while drawing readers in.
When designing your website, remember that your visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for as efficiently as possible. Navigation should be intuitive and familiar to allow your visitors to find the information they want.
There are two basic popular styles most navigation menus currently use:
- Breadcrumb; or
Breadcrumb navigation automatically adds their previous page to a navigation bar that appears somewhere on page (usually the top). This allows the user to instantly click back to past pages through levels.
Drop-down menus allow users to hover their cursor over menu titles to see pages within and click through to exactly the page that interests them.
Sites can use a combination of each style to great effect. Concise drop-down menus can lead through to breadcrumb pages, allowing for a depth of pages and organised information.
Webpage load time is a major contributor to your Google ranking factor, crucial to connecting you with your consumers, particularly those using mobile devices.
Reducing your sites loading time allows for a seamless user experience. You can reduce loading time by:
- Removing auto-play multimedia;
- Optimising image sizes; and
- Using whitespace.
By removing auto-play on your website, load time is immediately hastened. By making your multimedia a manual activation – that is, users must click to play – you increase viewer engagement while avoiding the irritation associated with loud, auto-play videos that often bounce visitors.
Optimising image sizes allows your webpages to load as fast as possible. Using high-resolution imagery and graphics on your site looks fantastic, but make sure they are a quality compressed format (such as .jpg).
By using whitespace frequently and well, you reduce load time and data demand for your users. This method spreads out your text and visual elements to smooth the viewing experience, especially for mobile users. Well used whitespace can have a positive impact on the text or visual elements throughout the rest of the page, increasing engagement.
Wait, what? Don’t pucker up, just Keep It Simple, Stupid. This acronym stems from the idea that simpler designs are better designs. In the online space, this is very true.
Web designs with simple to navigate, organised pages with relevant and easy to read content make it easy for scrollers to convert to customers. Less distraction and noise, more dollars spent.
Simple design does not mean unsophisticated, sterile designs either. By following a clear directive, focused on user experience, you can use elements such as colour and imagery to great impact. Eye-catching things such as contrasting call to actions and images of your actual products or staff can be sewn into a simple design beautifully to highlight important selling points.
In the modern world, where users are increasingly accessing websites via mobile devices and data, the simpler the design, the better. Loud backgrounds and flashy graphics are firmly in the past – thriving digital brands are now minimal, simple, and thoughtful.
No matter your industry, it’s important to make a professional impression on your audience, even before they begin reading your content. Ensuring your audience understands that you are a legitimate, modern and trustworthy business begins with how you web design represents you
Having dedicated pages available to explain who you are, where you’re based and what you value increases trustworthiness of your site to most readers. Design-wise, these can present as:
- A culture, or About Us page;
- Photos of your staff or office; and/or
- Testimonials or portfolio of work.
An About Us or ‘culture’ page allows your visitors an insight into your business values. Younger audiences are increasingly moral consumers, that is, they care about where their products and services come from. By presenting your business values, vision and mission openly, this leaves a positive impact on your readers.
In the same vein, having real photos of your staff or office grounds your business for your readers. It invites your visitors to envisage your offerings in real life, giving your business a tangible presence in their mind. It’s also creates a positive experience when clients see the staff they dealt with in real life online – or vice versa!
Testimonials and/or a portfolio of work is the easiest way to communicate exactly what you and your business can achieve. It’s proof that fortifies their decision to choose your product or service over your competitors. It creates realistic expectations, show breadth and/or quality of service. These can be scattered throughout your web design for maximum impact. This also serves younger generations tendency to research reviews before purchases!
These pages exemplify your work, but also what your business provides other than your service. This allows visitors to connect with your brand as something more than just a website.
Creating a better customer experience translates into conversions. While there are many factors that go into this experience, some of which are out of your hands, designing your website with your visitor in mind is the best approach.
Need help with your web design?
Here at Nicoh, we have some of the best digital designers, content curators and digital marketers at the ready to take your website to the top.
Get in touch today and let’s get designing.